Before I moved from Lakeland, I found a show that had originally aired in May on my ABC app for iPad. It's called "What Would You Do?" The show is hosted by John Quinones (please forgive the lack of tilde over his name) and you can think of it as a societal experiment disguised as Candid Camera. The idea is to create some awkward situations that would either require or call for input to resolve a situation from an outside source. The show is mind-boggling. I end up in tears every episode.
Typically the show covers both significant and seemingly insignificant situations. Anything from an annoying cell phone user in a restaurant, to extreme racial profiling, to a cashier in a convenient store who lies to a customer who won the lottery just to pocket their winnings. They do some interesting studies regarding how people react to different races and genders and then Quinones conducts an interview (often emotional) with the person who intervened to solve a problem.
Tonight, they opened up with a topic that I found extreme. Polygamy. They set up at a restaurant and had a family of actors to be the man and three of his wives. They were all dressed in the typical conservative clothing you might expect from those involved in the Fundamental sect of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The catch to the situation is that there was another female at the table who made it clear that she was 15 and was to be married to the older man on the next day. The experiment was to see who in the restaurant might step in when the young girl makes it clear that she is not in support of the marriage
As someone who has visited the mainstream sites of the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints in Utah, and someone who knows that Polygamy is illegal in all 50 states, it was hard to watch this...even knowing it was all fake.
The hardest part was seeing how many people did not speak up. The family created a scene at the table as the girl began to cry because she "wasn't ready to be married at 15". She was a minor, being forced into a polygamist lifestyle and how many people spoke up? 4. Out of 100 who witnessed it over several days. 4% of witnesses did anything to try to rescue the girl.
However, with the ABC crew was a lady who left a polygamist sect after being married at 14. The best part was seeing her interact with the people who did speak up after the fact. Here was someone who had been in the very situation thanking those who she wished had stepped into her life. Enough to bring a grown man to tears.
Perhaps we should all think about stepping in while observing someone else's time of need. It's a lesson that I need to learn for sure.
UPDATE: To those who might like to learn more about the show and view episodes, you can do so here.